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This site includes my Blog, Wildlife Photography and Reviews which can be accessed in the menu at the top of the screen.

(All photos on this website are taken by me unless stated otherwise. If you would like to use any photos on this website then please ask for permission by contacting me). 

About Me:

My name is Michael Sinclair and I’m a 15 year old naturalist from Glasgow. I’m involved in lots of activities involving wildlife and the environment.

me being stupid
Me looking for nests under bridge (Photo credit: Lewis McIntyre)

Some of the things I’m up to at the moment are:

Ambassador Roles 

I have been made an Ambasador along with some others for Scotland: The Big Picture and The Cameron Bespolka Trust. My role for both overlaps with one main focus: getting younger people involved with and  interested in nature.

Full details of the work carried out by both organisations can be found on their websites along with details of the other young ambassadors: see the logo links below:

stbp logo
cbt logo

Conservation Volunteering

Since 2018 I have been volunteering at one of my local parks/nature reserves (Linn Park) with a community group called Friends of Linn Park.  The work involves a range of activities including habitat improvements, wildlife monitoring, infrastructure improvements and community information days.

wildflower planting
Friends of Linn Park wildflower planting (Photo credit: Dorothy Buchanan)

Wildlife Photography

I am Glasgow based but also include photographs from trips in the UK and abroad. Most of my pictures have been taken using my Canon 7D Mk II with a 70-300mm lens or  a 100-400mm MkII lens. Some pictures have also been taken with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX 300.

A few years ago I had three photographs shortlisted for one of the ‘Young Peoples’ categories in the British Wildlife Photography Awards with one of my images (shown below) making it into the published book! I tend not to enter competitions now preferring instead to encourage other young people to develop their photography skills and interests through field demonstrations and writing articles.

Scarlet Elf Cup Fungi (Sarcoscypha coccinea)
Scarlet Elf Cup Fungi (Sarcoscypha coccinea)

Below is one of my personal photography highlights! If you have ever seen a Bittern then you will know how elusive they are, very difficult to see never mind photograph. I was lucky enough to be at RSPB Lakenheath Fen in one of the hides watching an adult with young. I was then amazed when this adult flew right past the hide!

Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)

Here are some more of my favourite photos! All and more can be viewed in the British Wildlife Photography section.

Bird Ringing

I am a T-permit (trainee) ringer with the Clyde Ringing Group. One of our long-term  projects involves tracking movements of Jack Snipe using a Geo-locator. A few winters ago we managed to recapture one bird with a tracker and the data showed it had been to Russia and Scandinavia before returning to Glasgow! This story was featured on Winterwatch 2018. I occasionally post images on social media but have taken all bird ringing images down from my website’s main pages as I’m more sensitive to the views of others who dislike seeing  wild birds held in the hand for photos.  Despite this, I remain of the view that, done carefully and responsibly, ringing does not damage the birds and provides valuable scientific data.  In my opinion, understanding bird behaviour is one of the most important aspects of  becoming a good birder.

Moth Trapping

In 2018, I got a 20W actinic Skinner Trap for my birthday. I try to record species in my garden on a regular basis. I also take my trap on holiday or short trips away to see what different species I can catch. All moths caught are recorded for scientific purposes and released unharmed into their habitat. Results are sent to a local moth recorder. My local moth recorder for the area also kindly loaned me a 125w mains powered Skinner trap.

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila porcellus)
Small Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila porcellus)

Bat Detecting

For Christmas I was lucky enough to get a bat detector (Echo Meter Touch – 2). This plugs into my i-pad and identifies bat species by picking up their echolocation signals and converting them into a frequency humans can hear. It also displays a sonogram which can be saved to my i-pad allowing me to review my recordings. Below is a Common Pipistrelle sonogram recording.

Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) sonogram

Wildlife Recording

An important part of being a Naturalist is to accurately record and report  a wide variety of wildlife. I use apps like BirdTrack and iRecord for this purpose.

Nest Box Challenge 

A few years ago I started a 100 nest box challenge to build and sell 100 bird boxes to raise money for the RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT). By mid-February 2018 I had completed the challenge and raised over £1000 for these charities with boxes being purchased by over 70 people across the UK.

Me & Boxes
Me With Some Nest Boxes (photo credit: Callum Sinclair)

As part of the challenge 13 boxes were put up in Linn Park. During Spring/ Summer 2018 these were monitored as part of the nest record scheme run by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). We were delighted that 47 chicks successfully fledged from the boxes.

The project has continued to grow with over 60 boxes now installed in the park covering a range of species including blue tits/great tits, treecreepers, dippers and spotted flycatchers. Instead of monitoring boxes using ladders to look inside the boxes we now use endoscope cameras which link to smart phones which can capture images. To help with the extensive monitoring programme we’ve trained a team of 10 volunteers who collect data that is submitted to the BTO Nest Record Scheme.  I can’t thank these volunteers enough!  The project was a 2019 finalist in the Evening Times ‘Streets Ahead’ Awards Environmental Category.

I’m still making boxes and have helped make over 200 now! (including some bat boxes)

Me up ladder
Me up ladder (photo credit: George Wilson)

Nest Finding

In addition to bird box monitoring, I also find naturally occurring bird nests and record them.

Shop?

I will eventually…

Mike's Nature Logo

I asked her to design this for me as she is very talented in graphic design! Please check her out!

Twitter – @Howlingflames1

Instagram – @howlingflames

YouTube – howling flames

Website –  https://sharlartblog.wordpress.com

For more information, questions or anything related please message me via the contact page. Alternatively, you can contact me through Instagram or Twitter.

21 thoughts

  1. Hi I am Alex I have been informed by a friend of yours called David Walsh that you are a go to when it comes to wildlife and birdwatching I was glad to hear I’m not the only one, so far you’re the first guy around my age bracket I’ve heard of who also has a passion for birds (me being 14).

    I have had a look at your work and I’m not going to lie it’s pretty awesome and keep it up please, I’m sure you are making a big difference. Personally I like wildlife a lot especially birds, I met your friend David at RSPB Minsmere who suggested I get in touch and gave me your details. I live up north so as you can imagine it was a long trip and it was really nice of my dad to take me.

    Usually we go to closer reserves such as Leighton Moss and Caerlaverock as I live in the Scottish Borders and the kind of birds I’m used to seeing at home range from eagles and ospreys to spotted flycatchers and dippers (I have now recorded 67 species of bird at home including the only nesting pair of pied flycatchers in the borders in 2014 – my photo of which appears on the front of the borders birding group 2014 annual magazine). I also do a bit of art and am currently painting some birds on my wall (Tree Sparrows and Bramblings which I have seen here). Please check out my YouTube channel if you have time it’s called Alex draws and although it has a couple odd subjects it’s mainly wildlife orientated.

    As you are a rare kindred spirit it would be great to meet up some time and exchange photos and news.

    1. Hey Alex! The work your doing sounds epic. I go to Leighton moss and carlaverock every year so we will defo be able to meet up.

      I wish my patch was as good as yours. 😆

      If you contact me using the contact page on my website then we can exchange emails.

      Thanks

      Mike

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